Posts Tagged ‘Clint Dempsey’

Saturday Soccer: Americans All Over

Wow, a great Saturday of soccer is nearly in the books….at least for the games we previewed.

Some observations:

Fulham just lost to Arsenal 1-0. Fulham played Arsenal pretty much even throughout the entire match and it was a Robin Van Persie first touch and shot in the 52nd–that the announcer called “delicious,” loved that–that was the difference.

More on this game:

Hangeland: What could have been...

Hangeland: What could have been...

I kept watching the central defense of Fulham and wondering what could have been for the USMNT if Brede Hangeland had favored the U.S. over Norway. After a shaky first ten minutes, Hangeland was super solid in the middle.

Loved Fulham skipper Roy Hodgson’s strategy. Hodgson had his charges challenging and trapping Arsenal way up the pitch, above the halfline,  forcing them to go over the top and challenge Hangeland, Konchesky and the defense in the air as oppose to build momentum through linking passes through the middle.  Fulham mastered that strategy in the first, however tired in the 2nd which started to see more combinations from Arsenal.

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You Say Benny, We Say Benny, We All Say Benny

BF: About to get Neo on El Salvador

BF: Ready to go Neo on El Salvador

The numbers are in. And they don’t lie.

We’ve now closed our poll on the right sidebar entitled: “Who should Bob Bradley sub into the midfield for the El Salvador game?”

Your choices? Individual players and combinations of players, including Benny Feilhaber, Jose Francisco Torres and Stu Holden.

And the answer is emphatically Benny Feilhaber. Our TSG mancrush continues. (Stay tuned for our final salvo post next week to get Feilhaber into the starting line-up against the Cuscatlecos…..you’ll love it, TSG promises….and let’s just tease it by saying TSG did a little road trip to make it happen.)

Back to the data.

First, only 2% of you want Coach Bob and the US to keep the same line-up as Mexico. That’s a pretty resounding number.

The most selected answer that won the plurality was “Benny and Stu” with 35% of the vote.

Nearly 70% of you want Benny Feilhaber starting in some capacity, either just himself or with a combination of Stu, Jose or all three. That’s another resounding number.

Amazingly, 54% of you want the Iceman Stu Holden starting in some manner. That was probably the most surprising data that came back. TSG loves Stu (check out our interview the Dynamo star if you haven’t seen it yet), but, as my brother pointed out yesterday, he’s probably going to inhabit the second half spark plug role that Feilhaber had if BF starts. Alas, Freddy, this was yours to lose at one point!

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EPL Week 3: Now We’re Rolling

"Hey TSG, if I get into the EPL can you throw some press my way?" Damn right Jay!

"Hey TSG, if I get into the EPL can you throw some love my way?" Sure Jay!

(As last week, each Thursday we’ll try to give you our insights on the English Premier League primarily and other global leagues with analogies and dialogue favoring Americans Abroad.)

Wow, we’re at week 3 already in the EPL. This is the week that you discover if data points from the first two week are part of a growing trend or if they are put out to pasture as isolated instances.

Let’s get right to it.

ESPN’s Saturday Game of the Week: Chelsea vs. Burnley

Chelsea is coming off a convincing away win against Fullham at Craven Cottage after clubbings of Hull and Sunderland to start the term. Nice segway here in that Burnley have proven to be 2009 version of 2008 Hull City Tigers who took the EPL by storm and we’re sitting in the top half of the Premiership through December of last year. Burnley can boast wins over two of last year’s top five teams in “Premiership champ” (they should just make that their official nickname now) Manchester United and Everton. Admittedly Everton was in disarray, but nonetheless impressive wins for the recently promoted squad.

I think Chelsea will keep the duo of Anelka and Drogba up top so they can continue forming their partnership, it’s possible you may see Kalou given a start though and also see munchkin Deco as well.

Here’s how I would watch this game. Tune in for the first 15 minutes and get a read on the game. If it’s back-and-forth, grab your oatmeal. If Chelsea looks dominant, check back in at the 30 minute mark of the 2nd half. If Chelsea are not on top by more than 1-0, you’ll know Burnley are for real and the next 15 minutes or so will merit a look-see.

The first heavyweight fight of the season: Manchester United vs. Arsenal (on FSC, 9:30 PST I believe)

Now, this is the game you want watch. Arsenal visiting Old Trafford. Arsene Wenger’s squad has been lights out to start the season, raking both Everton and Portsmouth over the coals the past two weeks. However, they are facing a renewed Red Devil squad after their 2nd half massacring of Wigan last week. If not for that 2nd half, I think you would have had a completely different storyline coming into this week of Man U’s season on the ropes or endless discussion on Ronaldo’s absence. (Alas, Rooney was near the equal of Ronaldo from a focal point perspective).

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What Is Your Favorite American EPL Moment?

Wow, what a fun trip down memory lane.

I was just commenting on the Altidore story and trying to grasp the level of excitement that seems to have encapsulated the American soccer community with Jozy Altidore’s Hull debut Saturday.

The impact that JZA had on the game, the chants of “USA! USA!” by the crowd, the shear threat that an American striker could present in an Premiership game. Just fun to have as part of the weekend of soccer.

Howard, beginning his legacy

Howard, beginning his legacy

It got me thinking to the biggest moments that I can remember for Americans overseas, specifically in the EPL.

I would say JZA at Bolton is one of maybe four momentous events without giving forth to hyperbole that I can remember in terms of the media coverage and just shear “buzz,” for lack of a better word. I’m sure I’ll be embarrassed by ones I’ve missed–that you will add to the commentary here–and I’m a bit melancholy that I am not including at least one moment from Brian McBride.

Chronologically they are:

1990 – John Harkes Goal of the Year for Sheffield Wednesday against Derby County. I was in high school at the time and everyone thought John Harkes was the second coming of Ruud Gullit or something here in the States. I remember my parents buying me a Gullit Netherlands jersey actually–I wish I still had that.

2003 – Tim Howard’s Shield victory on penalties over Arsenal. I didn’t really comprehend the magnitude of Howard’s role at the time or this might have been more prominent a moment in EPL time for me.

2007 – Clint Dempsey’s goal for Fulham to avoid relegation.

2009 – Altidore’s debut against Bolton

Harkes’ goal by far is the most memorable moment in my mind, maybe the years have added to the legacy. Here’s the clip below; one that I have watched countless times before. You know it was such a vicious a strike because he had such a badass mullet.

What moments is TSG forgetting? Or what are yours more specifically?

Dempsey: Active Up Top Against Chelsea

Ruthless.

Up top at the expense of EJ?

Up top at the expense of EJ?

If you are watching the Fulham-Chelsea game as TSG is this morning, you are seeing an extremely active Clint Dempsey who is aggressively heading to the Chelsea net. Ruthless you might say. Dempsey is clearly looking for offense, though Fulham is currently on the wrong side of the scorecard after a Drogba first half strike.

So many storylines off Fulham’s line-up this morning.

Dempsey is playing up top today at RCF for the Cottagers with the addition of Damien Duff to the squad–somewhat telling that for some a major EPL game, Duff is in the squad at left wing just days after his acquisition.

Also, remember Fulham brought in even more midfield firepower with the addition of Jonathan Greening (primarily a holding midfielder, but he can play anywhere) this week. Might that spell more time up top for the Deuceman.

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Compelling Story Lines Waltzing into Week 2

Just a fun August for TSG and soccer in general.

We’ve got transfer rumors up the wazoo and we’ve got swine flu scares. By the way, is anyone else sick of this swine flu-Altidore-Hull story?

Don't worry Phil, Jozy's about to suit up.

Don't worry Phil, Jozy will suit up.

I am, it’s over-reported and it is what it is. Worse, how about reporters asking for commentary on the story! Like I know the first thing about Jozy having swine flu. Everything else is conjecture. TSG just hopes he doesn’t have….whatever.

If you want to learn the latest on Jozy’s situation, just click here and make your own judgments.

or

Just check-in with Jozy’s latest Twitter: Finally on the plane to england :) I just want to play. Once again thanks for all your support guys”

Let’s get back to soccer and transfer buzz and stop being the secondary or tertiary source of rumor-based “news.” It’s like this story is sitting at the grocery checkout counter and running next to Rachael McAdams (hottie) is having an alien baby or World Cup 2010 cancelled. Enough already.

Apologies for the diatribe. Here’s some of the soccer-based and factual things that TSG unearthed this week or will keep tabs on this weekend:

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Clint Dempsey through Marvin Gaye’s Words

C'mon Clint: What's going on?

C'mon Clint: What's going on?

(Update:  How Clint Looked Versus Chelsea)

“What’s going on?
Tell me what’s going on.”

A few days ago we launched a little primer entitled, “What’s Up With Clint?,” to get us thinking on how the still very young (CD is all of 26 years old) and in the prime of his career Deuceman has become virtually irrelevant for the US team over the past few months. Mind you, when we say irrelevant, we’re talking about being a difference-maker within the game. Clint has scored goals–but those moments have accounted for easily less than 2% of the time he’s been on the pitch for the USMNT. Remember the fierce Clint Dempsey attacking the Italian iron curtain defense at will and with reckless abandon (though not successfully) in the 2006 World Cup, yeah so do we. We want him back.

Today, we were jogged with the news that Fulham have signed former Chelsea and Newcastle left flanksman Damien Duff to their squad. Note, if you had the pleasure of watching Chelsea’s first year under supercoach Jose Mourinho in the 2003-2004 EPL campaign, their midfield, from right to left, of Joe Cole, Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele, and Damien Duff was just a pleasure to watch.

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